Friday, January 19, 2018

Witco announces price increase again

In less than one year...

The West Indian Tobacco Company (Witco) has announced another cigarette price increase in less than a year.

The 4.5 per cent increase took effect from Carnival Monday.

Champs Fleurs-based Witco last raised prices last May by four per cent.

"Tobacco is a commodity, affected by climate change and global demand and supply. The global prices have increased so we (have been forced to) follow suit," Witco managing director Jean-Pierre du Coudray told the Express yesterday in a telephone interview.

He said tobacco prices, which comprise 85 per cent of the company's raw material cost, have increased by 16 per cent.

"Rising prices are a fact of life. We have to adapt to what is happening on a global scale. We could just get inferior tobacco, but that would compromise our quality to our consumers. We may have to pay more but we would feel more comfortable giving top quality to our consumers. People may complain about the price increase initially, but I'm sure after a while they'll get used to it," he said.

The average price increase is $1 for WITCO's entire product range. The premium Dunhill and Dunhill Fine Cut brands will now retail for $23 and $28 respectively. The du Maurier range is now $21, and $12 for a half-pack.

Broadway is now $19, and $11 for a half pack.

These are suggested prices and some retailers and vendors have already added an additional dollar to their cigarette prices.

Nonetheless, Witco continues to be one of the strongest performing listings on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, valued at $88.14 per share.

Witco earned a before tax profit of $402 million in 2011, 8.1 per cent more than 2010.

Thirty-eight per cent of the company's income goes toward government taxes. The company's annual general meeting will be held on April 4.